9 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a New Car Insurance Policy


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way drivers shop for car insurance.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a new car insurance policy, you might want to start by figuring out how often you drive these days.

The less you drive, the more you could save with pay-per-mile car insurance from Metromile.

Before you purchase a new car insurance policy, here are nine questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Do I work remotely? 

Many companies have shifted to remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re working from home and the pandemic has shortened your daily commute from your bed to your couch, you might save money with pay-per-mile car insurance.

  1. When was the last time I left your house? 

Around the country, many places are facing travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, shelter-in-place orders, and curfews. Doing your part to prevent the spread might mean staying inside more often than you’d like. 

But look on the bright side: It could also save you money with pay-per-mile car insurance.

  1. What kind of coverage do I need? 

To start, you will need the minimum coverage required by law. Since this varies by state, you’ll want to understand what kind of coverage is required in your state of residence.

Most states require liability coverage, which may help cover the costs of anyone who gets injured in a car accident caused by you, plus damage to their vehicle, property damage, and legal fees; however, some states require additional coverage beyond liability insurance. 

Even if you live in a state that doesn’t require it by law, here are some other coverage plans typically offered by car insurance companies:

Collision Coverage: This kind of plan covers damages to your car in the event of an accident, regardless of who caused the damage. You will still need to front the money for the deductible; however, some people who have newer cars may choose this option because the amount you will receive back is based on the car’s market value, and the payout may be much higher on a newer vehicle.

Comprehensive Coverage: This type of plan covers damages to your car that aren’t from a collision or crash. Your vehicle could be covered with a comprehensive insurance policy if there are damages due to fire, vandalism, acts of nature, and theft

Comprehensive coverage comes with an added cost. As with collision coverage, some people with newer vehicles or leased vehicles may purchase this type of policy because the payout can be more extensive than the deductible because of the higher car value. Consider checking your car’s value every year to reevaluate if comprehensive or collision coverage is the right decision for you.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist protection: This coverage option could help cover the cost of your car repairs if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you.

Personal injury protection: This plan is pretty self-explanatory – it’s right there in the name! 

Personal injury protection helps cover medical bills and loss of wages to you or your passengers if someone hits you. If you’re injured while riding as a passenger in someone else’s car, it could cover the expenses related to that as well. 

It’s important to check if your insurance company offers personal injury protection in your state, as some insurers may not offer it in every state.

  1. How much do I drive?

The answer to this question is very important because you could very well be overpaying where you don’t need to. If you’re a city-dweller who mostly takes public transportation, or even if you have a second car that you don’t drive very often, signing up for a policy with Metromile could save you big bucks. 

Metromile’s policy is pay-per-mile, so the less you drive, the less you pay. Simple as that!

  1. What’s my driving history?

This is not meant to be a scary question, we promise. Insurance companies generally want to know whether you are a safe driver. They might use your history as a driver, whether you filed claims in the past, for example, to help set the price you pay.

Have you gotten speeding tickets, been in a few fender benders, or live in an area where car theft is prevalent

An insurer might decide you are a risky driver, and you’ll generally pay more for auto insurance. Be sure to do your research and shop around to see which company will give you the best rate based on your record.

  1. Who will be covered with the policy?

Every insurance company and state handles this a bit differently, so be sure to understand what your coverage will look like before making any decisions. 

Try to think through every possible scenario: a friend borrows your car and hits someone, your 16-year-old driver who is still learning to drive gets in an accident or something else entirely. Who will be covered? Will your insurance company pay for the damages? Knowing the answer to this question ahead of time will save you the headache of looking for the answer after the fact.

  1. What will my deductible be?

This might be the most important question of all and one that you have the most control over.

With most policies, you can choose your deductible amount: the higher the deductible, the lower your monthly payment will be. Common deductible amounts are $0, $100, $500, $750, $1,000, and $1,500. 

If you are involved in an accident and file a claim with your insurance company, your deductible is the amount you will need to pay out of pocket before the insurance company will pay the rest of the bill. Choosing a high deductible plan may be a wise decision because your yearly bill (also known as your premium) will be lower.

However, be sure that you don’t set your deductible so high that you won’t be able to pay it if you do get in an accident and need to file a claim.

  1. Does an insurance company have 24-hour claims service?

Getting into an accident is stressful enough, and knowing that you can only contact your insurance company during business hours only adds to the stress of the situation. Be sure to look for insurance carriers with claims service available 24/7, like Metromile! 

Even if it’s just a fender bender, knowing your insurance company has your back 24/7 can provide a great amount of peace of mind.

  1. Is my car financed or leased?

It’s important to note that if you still owe money on your car, or you are expected to keep your lease in like-new condition, you’ll likely be required to insure the car for its full value – and possibly for any gap between what you owe and the car’s market value. 

It is crucial to understand any policy you purchase and whether it meets your financing company’s requirements or lease terms.

The bottom line

Now might be a great time to switch to pay-per-mile car insurance.

Since you’re already shopping for a new car insurance policy, you might as well look for the best value. If you’re unsure whether pay-per-mile auto insurance is right for you, you can try Ride Along™ for free. Ride Along is a free app feature that helps you get a more accurate rate before you buy insurance. 

Drivers download the Metromile app and drive for about two weeks. You’ll keep your coverage with your previous insurer while Metromile considers your actual driving, including how many miles you drive. Once you complete the trial, we’ll show you your rate, so you have confidence you’ll save money on an auto insurance policy before you switch and start your coverage with Metromile.